Cottonopolis: Resurrecting The British Cotton Legacy

It’s well known that at Dugdale Bros, we’re extremely proud of our clothmaking heritage – and we recently contributed to Selvedge Magazine’s blog about one of our charming collections, Cottonopolis. If you missed the original write-up, you can catch up here…

Eulogised by tailors and wearers across the globe for its highly durable, breathable and lightweight properties, cotton is a timeless fabric perfect for both the balmy climes of summer, and chillier winter temperatures.

However, when it comes to tracing the historical roots of this particular textile, not everyone knows about the pivotal role that the North of England played in Britain’s cotton manufacturing heritage.

Believed to have first been spun in England in the early 18th century, cotton has been an unfaltering fabric choice for centuries.

Indeed, it was the proliferation of the textiles trade during the Industrial Revolution that caused Lancashire and the surrounding Pennine areas to be revered as a haven for cotton. As a result, Manchester was nicknamed ‘Cottonopolis’ and the UK became known as the ‘workshop of the world.’

Only recently has Huddersfield-based heritage cloth merchant Dugdale Bros & Co broken a 50-year hiatus, by producing the first 100% British-made cotton suiting and coating collection in over half a century – aptly named in honour of the long-standing legacy, Cottonopolis.

The thread-to-cloth journey starts with the finest quality Supima yarn from English Fine Cottons – the first cotton spinning company in the UK for more than 50 years, and the last remaining in Europe. This then goes on to be dyed at Blackburn Yarn Dyers, woven at John Spencer in Burnley and finished in Brighouse at H & C Whitehead – all before making its final trip to Dugdale Bros’ Huddersfield headquarters.

Another factor which makes this collection unique is the spectrum of vibrant colourways. Cotton garments are typically plain in design, but to celebrate the rebirth of UK cotton production, these 25 cloths are bold, bright and afford a two-tone-like effect – due to the innovative way they’ve been woven.

The resulting fabric is a tightly-woven gabardine construction with a water-resistant finish, and one saturated in English pride and provenance. But, it’s not just the inimitable versatility that makes it a firm favourite in the sartorial space, its strength, softness, colour retention and lustrous finish are all contributors – and, of course, there’s a sufficient helping of Yorkshire charm too.

Dugdale Bros is a brand that’s committed to preserving the rich clothmaking heritage – not only of its home town, but of the textiles trade as a whole, and enjoys exploring contemporary techniques and trends, to capture the audiences of tomorrow.